Monday, September 8, 2014

A Review of The North Face Men’s ThermoBall Full Zip Jacket

north face mens thermoball jacketIf you're looking for a reliable lightweight jacket that is compact yet capable of keeping you warm this winter, The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket has everything you need. Made from a stylish synthetic that is equivalent in warmth to 600-fill down, this jacket can keep you warm in cold temperatures while preventing you from overheating on those not-so-cold days during the fall months. Quickly stow your Thermoball Jacket into its hand pocket when the weather suddenly warms and you don't require a jacket.

Keep your phalanges warm in its two-hand pockets expertly lined to keep out the chilling wind. Be protected in cold and wet conditions with The North Face's Thermoball insulation technology that aids in retaining heat against the body. Its cinch-cord system also helps with retaining heat, keeping the cold air away from your skin and preventing snow from finding its way up your back. Zippered hand pockets keep your phone in place if you happen to be tearing up some fresh powder on your snowboard. 

This full-zip jacket doubles as a great base layer that slides under heavier layers if you are going to experience long durations of freezing temperatures during a day hike or overnight camping trip. Feel at ease that your sleeves won’t rise as this nylon fabric jacket features elastic binding at the cuff.

The Thermoball is available in a variety of colors including closet staples (black and grey) while offering you fashion freedom by adding a pop of color through bright color swatches.

Whether you’re hitting the ski slopes or simply needing a new lightweight jacket to keep you warm in the elements while you’re outdoors, consider this North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket. Backed by a lifetime guarantee from The North Face, this stylish jacket’s features should last a lifetime, and if they do not, the company will repair it for free.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top Ski Destinations for Winter 2014

With the change of months on our calendars, all focus is squarely on a shift of seasons and the fast approaching trips to winter resorts. Still not sure where you ought to go for your next ski trip? Here are some of the top ski destinations to check out for the winter season.
  1. Squaw Valley – You could go to any of the resorts in the Tahoe area and find great downhill trails, but we recommend Squaw Valley. It’s a great spot if you’re a winter sports fan as it has plenty of terrain for jumping, cutting, skiing on moguls and more.
  2. Whistler – Located in British Columbia, Canada, Whistler is by far the largest, most vast ski area on the continent. You can spend a week chock full of skiing on its grounds and still not explore all of its trails.
  3. Vail – Head over to Colorado’s Vail Resort to find consistent and lush snowfall every year. They experience more than 325 inches a year of fresh powder, making Vail the go-to resort of skiing in beautiful Colorado.
  4. Jackson Hole – After you’ve had your fill of Tahoe. Head north to Wyoming and check out Jackson Hole. The resort’s state-of-the-art tram system can take you thousands of feet up where the air is clear and crisp. A perfect spot for a memorable run.
  5. Mammoth Mountain – So we’re a little biased towards western resorts, but with good reason! Mammoth Mountain features some of the most insane slopes around. Several of them don’t even begin until over 8,000 feet, making those slopes the perfect spot for testing your mettle.
The shift of seasons has us excited to lock in to our skis and start carving up new and exciting runs. Do you have a resort you’re heading to this season that isn’t on this list? Sound off in the comments below and let us know about it!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Spotlight on The North Face Women's Metropolis Down Parka

the north face women's metropolis parka
The North Face Women's Metropolis Down Parka is the perfect meld of style and function, made for protecting you from the elements on your commute but tough enough for excursions in freezing conditions. If you’re facing frigid weather, the Metropolis Down Parka will warm you up and keep you toasty all the way through morning and evening commutes.

This women’s down parka is lightweight and will slide easily over whatever clothing you have on, ideal for protecting that perfect, professional look you’ve achieved for a meeting or to round out your gear for an outing in the coldest of conditions. Crafted with a slimmer upper body providing a flattering fit, this jacket doesn’t sacrifice fashion for function.

The Metropolis is filled with 600 Fill Down insulation to trap the most body heat. A durable water repellent finish protects from moisture absorption for reliable insulation. It features an insulated, adjustable hood for the wettest days, which can be removed for weather that doesn’t call for a hood. This jacket is all about giving you air-tight protection from the elements while maximizing comfort and not getting in your way. The brushed chin guard lets the jacket hug you tightly on the chilliest days without feeling claustrophobic.

For the urban trekker, this jacket includes an internal media pocket with media loop to stow your MP3 player for safe use in wet conditions. Two zippered hand warmer pockets provide ample space for accessories and extra protection for your hands. A two-way front zipper lets you ventilate in those quick cloud breaks and zip back up when the sun stops shining and the wind starts blowing.

Stylish and comfortable, The North Face Women’s Metropolis Down Parka is a classic look with modern technology that will last you through a lifetime of winters.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Snowboarding Destinations in North America

Not all resorts cater well to snowboarders, many of whom emphasize freestyle and seek resorts with a variety of terrain parks and massive pipes for catching big air. We put together this list of the best snowboarding resorts in North America, featuring snowboarding destinations all around both the U.S. and Canada. Snowboarders of all skill levels will find plenty of options to make their preferences and style at each of these resorts. They feature snowboarding terrain parks, half pipes, snow cross, and trails geared toward riders.

Whistler/Blackcomb, BC, Canada 

Photo credit: whistlerblackcomb.com

Trails: 200+ 
Terrain Parks: 6
Features: Super pipe, snowcross
Skiable Acres: 8,171 total; 99 acres of park terrain

The largest ski resort in North America takes the top spot with sheer size, offering an insane amount of terrain and features for riders of all skills and types. The resort offers one of the most technical big-air terrain park sections, along with a simple starter section featuring small rails, boxes, rollers, and jumps, plus everything in between.

Mammoth Mountain, CA, USA

Photo credit: mammothmountain.wordpress.com

Trails: 150
Terrain parks: 8
Features: Super-duper pipe, super pipe, mini pipe
Skiable acres: 3,500

Mammoth Mountain is California’s highest ski resort with a top elevation of 11,053 feet.  Though it is the southernmost resort on this list, it amazingly has the longest ski season of the bunch, averaging from November to early June. Mammoth caters to the extreme snowboarding crowd with Unbound, their massive, feature-rich set of terrain parks. The long season, three pipes, and cutting-edge features draw riders from across the world, including Olympic gold medalist and X-Games champion Shaun White.

Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, USA 

Photo credit: snowparktech.com

Trails: 94
Terrain parks: 3
Features: Superpipe, beginner halfpipe
Skiable Acres: 3,332

Comprising four peaks surrounding the towns of Aspen and Snowmass Village in Colorado, this resort complex is one of the most famous destinations for riders in the world. Buttermilk, one of the four resorts, won Best Terrain Park by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine in 2013. This terrain park boasts a world-class, 2-mile Super Pipe featured multiple times in the X-Games. Along with dozens of jumps, logs, and rails featured along the pipe and numerous other parks and features, Buttermilk and the rest of Aspen/Snowmass have more than enough to keep any rider busy for a season.

Mount Snow, Vermont, USA

Photo credit: transworld.net

Trails: 135 trails
Terrain Parks: 8 terrain parks
Features: Super pipe, mini pipe
Skiable Acres: 633

Mount Snow in Vermont is one of the only East Coast destinations that can compete with the top spots in the Rockies. Carinthia, the terrain area, is the only all-park mountain face in the Northeast. It has more high output snow fans than any other resort in North America, giving it some of the best snow coverage around.

As the closest ski resort to major metros in the Northeast and recipient of awards including Best Terrain Park in the Northeast by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, Mount Snow is the number one destination for riders in New England.

Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

Photo credit: sbcwomen.com

Trails:  95
Terrain Parks: 3
Features: Half pipe, snowcross
Skiable Acres: 654

Mont Tremblant is the oldest ski resort in Canada, and sits just a few miles from scenic Mont-Tremblant Village, a quaint town melding traditional Quebecois and European alpine architecture. It features three terrain parks from beginner to expert, offering eastern Canadians a steady progression through all levels of freestyle skill.

Whether you’re looking for big air in pipes or off jumps, or terrain parks with a variety of jibs and features, these snowboarding resorts offer the variety to hone your skills and develop some new ones. Several listed parks have full-time, year-round staffs of park terrain designers, so you’re not riding the same lines and features year after year. If you’re looking for a destination that caters to snowboarders anywhere in North America, you can find the ride you’re looking for with any of these. Do you have a different park you love to visit? Sound off in the comments below and let us know about it!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Review of The North Face Recon Backpack

the north face recon backpackWhether you are looking for a sturdy, lightweight daypack or a versatile, everyday backpack, The North Face Recon, model A92X, is a solid choice, and for the quality, the price can’t be beat. This backpack is available in 11 colors, and it is perfect for men, women and children who require a generous amount of space and an ergonomic fit.

The North Face Recon weighs 2 pounds, 10 ounces when empty, and it is constructed of durable yet lightweight 420D nylon and super-strong 1680D ballistics nylon. Its overall dimensions are 19 inches by 13 inches by 11.5 inches. The backpack provides a total of 29 liters of space and includes several useful features for organizing your gear and electronic devices. The primary zip pocket opens into a cushioned sleeve large enough to accommodate most 15-inch laptops and tablets. The main compartment outside the sleeve also includes a hydration port and an organization pocket. This section is large enough to hold a laptop and textbooks that total about 2,000 pages.

The Recon backpack also has a secondary compartment that opens separately from the primary storage area. This compartment includes a large zippered pocket, two drop pockets, three smaller pockets and four thin, long pockets for pencils and pens. As a whole, this section is very spacious and is great for storing gear that needs to be accessed quickly. Outside this secondary compartment is a large, mesh drop pocket and a small, zippered stash pocket, and there is a mesh water-bottle pocket with adjustable, elastic cinch straps on each side. These pockets will hold bottles of up to 32 ounces in size securely.

The shoulder straps of the Recon are extremely comfortable. They are manufactured with The North Face’s proprietary FlexVent injection-molding technology, and PE foam is stitched inside to provide additional padding. The shoulder straps connect via a removable sternum strap that adjusts in both width and height, and weight from the pack can be evenly distributed by using the stowable hip belt with padded wings for extra comfort.

The back panel of the pack is comprised of a single sheet of PE foam for back support, but it is covered in air-mesh fabric stitched to create spine channels that allow for superior airflow. Behind the cushioning, however, is a sturdy, plastic insert that helps the bag keep its shape no matter how much or how little it is carrying. This insert is very helpful when you are carrying small items that rest in the bottom of the bag.

This medium-sized pack can be used for a number of purposes, including hiking, school and urban adventuring. The nylon fabric is water resistant, and the deluxe YKK zippers keep the pockets secure, but they open easily and smoothly.

Even though the Recon from The North Face is extremely functional, it is also very stylish and comes in black and several two-color patterns, including black and white, zinc gray and orange, blue and gray, red and gray, aquamarine and yellow and red and pink. This model of backpack has been around for several years, and many previous owners have used it regularly for more than five years without any problems. However, if it does suffer from a defect, it comes with a lifetime warranty, and The North Face is known for its excellent and speedy service.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Best Types of Packs for Different Excursions

A lot of people ask us for advice about choosing the right pack for an outdoor excursion. Of course, there is no one pat answer to that question. A backpack should be selected according to several criteria. Where will you be going and for how long? How much can you comfortably carry? Anyone who ventures into the great outdoors needs to carry at least a few things, but there’s no point in buying and toting more pack than you actually need. KL Mountainshop is pleased to present a splendid selection of well-made packs to suit a variety of purposes. In our colorful online catalog you’ll find daypacks, multi-day packs, alpine sport packs and packs that are just right for skiers and snowboarders.

Not sure which type of pack to purchase? Here’s a basic guide to help you choose:

Day Hiking
For a short day hike, you won’t need to carry a sleeping bag or overnight gear. Still, you’ll want to take along at least one bottle of water and perhaps a light lunch. A first aid kit is always a good thing to take on a hike of any duration. Many experts say that a day pack should weigh no more than four and a half pounds. What if we told you that KL Mountainshop sells a backpack that weighs just nine ounces? It’s true. Our North Face Flyweight Pack is the lightest pack around and ideal for a day hike. This frameless backpack is made of durable Ripstop nylon and provides 17 liters of carrying space. Contoured air mesh shoulder straps provide all-day comfort.

Overnight Hiking
The North Face Cinder Pack 55 is one of our best-selling packs, and for good reason. Even with the removable frame in place, this 55-liter pack weighs less than five pounds empty. The flip-lid makes for easy loading and the cinch closure keeps your stuff secure in rugged conditions. This high quality TNF multi-day pack is ideal for hikers who desire an overnight wilderness adventure.

Rock Climbing
If you’re going to go cragging, you’ll want a lightweight pack that is somewhat larger than a typical day pack. Rock climbers require gear that other hikers do not. The Scrambler Backpack from Mountain Hardwear is preferred by rock climbers for its lightness and super durability. The Scrambler weighs in at a mere 11 ounces, but provides plenty of room for a mountaineer’s rope, rack and rock shoes.

Mountain Biking
Where biking packs are concerned, The North Face wins again. The Jester Pack by TNF offers plenty of space for water, snacks, a first aid kit, spare chain links and a small tire pump. This 27 liter backpack comes with patented Flex Vent injection-molded shoulder straps for comfort even on extended bicycling trips.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys a number of outdoor activities, you may wish to consider purchasing more than one pack. If you have packs of varying size, your hiking, biking or climbing range won’t be limited by the capacity you can comfortably carry. KL Mountainshop carries a very nice assortment of backpacking gear and accessories from such respected makers as The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Burton and Black Diamond.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Review of The North Face Men’s Plasma ThermoBall Jacket

north face plasma thermoball jacket
The North Face Plasma ThermoBall jacket is the latest in go-anywhere sportswear for men. It’s casual-looking enough for a jaunt around town, but under its civilized exterior, this jacket has serious chops. What makes this jacket unique is its insulation: PrimaLoft ThermoBall — the newest synthetic alternative to down. ThermoBall has the warmth equivalent of 600-fill down, and it will continue keeping you toasty even when it gets wet. The round synthetic fibers in ThermoBall don’t clump together like traditional down, and the fiber’s innovative shape allows it to trap heat in small air pockets to retain warmth.

Besides its amazing filler material, the North Face Plasma ThermoBall jacket has an exterior made of double-layer HyVent waterproof nylon. This durable material is breathable and will keep you from getting clammy inside your jacket. The jacket’s fully taped seams protect you from drafts and leaks, and its underarm zips are great for when you get hot hiking up that ridge you’ve had in your sights all day. A removable and fully adjustable hood gives this hard-working piece of outerwear even more versatility, and its two hand pockets and single sleeve pocket have sturdy zippers to keep all your valuables safe.

The jacket is available in four colors, some of which are monochrome and some of which mix it up a bit with different-colored bodies and sleeves. The cosmic blue/asphalt grey combination is vibrant and eye-catching; if you prefer a dark-colored jacket, you can choose between a burgundy/black combination, a black-on-black option, and a navy-on-navy style.

The North Face ThermoBall jacket combines the coziness of down with the sleekness of a synthetic. The insulation is light and compressible, making the jacket excellent for stowing in a backpack on between-season camping trips. Its thin design is deceptive though; the Plasma ThermoBall is great for temperatures ranging from below zero into the mid 30s. Since it doesn’t have the bulk of traditional down, it's perfect for layering and can be worn over pretty much any normal daywear without looking bulky.

Whether you’re planning a trek deep into the mountains or just want to stay warm on a frigid night on the town, The North Face ThermoBall jacket is an excellent choice. This jacket is covered by The North Face’s lifetime guarantee, so if its features ever don’t live up to the company’s stellar reputation, they’ll repair it for free. Any item of clothing that combines comfort, utility, style, and incredibly high quality is worth checking out, so give the Plasma ThermoBall jacket a try if you want to stay warm but still look great next winter.